Quotas have been near the center of the debate about stop-and-frisk since the federal trial of the controversial NYPD practice began. If commanding officers are enforcing numerical goals for arrests, tickets, and stops (and they are), goes the plaintiffs’ line of argument, then that would incentivize officers on the street to stop a person even if there’s no reason to believe he or she is committing a crime.
Now, NYPD brass is claiming a much less nefarious reason for the quotas than pumping up arrest numbers or generating ticket revenue: patrol cops are too lazy to do any real work without them. “I think we’re charged with trying to get the police officers to work, do the things that they’re getting paid for,” said NYPD commissioner for labor relations John Beirne.
Joseph J. Esposito, a high-ranking retired cop, echoed that sentiment. After describing an upper echelon of cops who live to serve the department, he said, “You have 10 percent on the other side that are complete malcontents that will do as little as possible no matter how well you treat them.”
“It’s a question as to why they can see activity when they are being paid overtime as opposed to not being able to see activity when they are on straight time,” he added.
So the next time you or someone you know is stopped for no apparent reason and you suspect quotas are to blame, take solace in knowing that without them, the city would be a more dangerous place. As one officer testified, without quotas, that officer who just violated your rights might have been “sitting in the car reading the newspaper” instead.
(Photo: David Shankbone/Flickr)